The "Best" of Yale Menus
And the worst

December 11, 2022 (2y ago)

The "Best" of Yale Menus

Yale Menus, created by the amazing Erik Boesen and David Foster, is every yalie’s most-used app (other than maybe Fizz. Or Tinder).

The app enables students to unofficially review meal items. In honor of the end of the semester, I used some magic ✨ to aggregate reviews for every food item – here are some of the best:

The Good

New England Clam Chowder

“In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations. The new needs friends. Last night, I experienced something new: an extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions about fine cooking is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core. In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for New England Clam Chowder. But I realize, only now do I truly understand its beauty. Not everyone can become a great artist; but a great artist can come from anywhere. It is difficult to imagine more humble origins than those of the genius now cooking at Franklin, who is, in this critic's opinion, nothing less than the finest chef at Yale. I will be returning to Franklin soon, hungry for more.”

“When I journeyed to the prestigious Pierson dining hall, I found myself bereft of meaning. I sat down on a cold, hard wooden chair, set my head down on the tabletop and began to sob incessantly. But then, suddenly, I felt a hand on my shoulder. I turned around to see the kind, gentle face of a man who introduced himself to me as “Frank”. “Son, what seems to be the matter,” Frank asked me, as the tears continued to run down my face. I looked up at the pale white ceiling to try and avoid looking him in the eye, and said “I have nothing and no one, Frank. What reason is there to continue on this treacherous path?” It was at that moment that Frank started to laugh. And what a rich laugh it was. “Nothing??” he asked, “well do I have something for you.” Frank reached into his left chest pocket and pulled out a steaming bowl of New England Clam Chowder. “Here, eat this and live life how it should be,” he said, and so I did. I put the bowl to my mouth and welcomed the creamy, rich broth into my gullet. As the warmth of the chowder ran into my stomach, I began to cry again. But these weren’t tears of sadness, they were tears of joy. The Pierson Dining Hall Clam Chowder didn’t just fill my stomach, but filled my heart and soul. In that moment I saw beauty, I saw kindness…I saw love. I saw a future where I belonged, one with a family, with children, with a purpose. You see, life may have it’s ups and downs, it may have twists and turns, but above all, it has chowder. Clam chowder. And Frank, I thank you for showing me the light again. Your kindness—and chowder—has saved me. Bravo sir. Bravo.”

Yale's Cage-Free Hard Boiled Eggs

“A Haiku Series I. The Journey Begins Morning sun rises, Yale's dining hall awakens, Eggs wait to be cracked. II. The Perfect Shell Golden orbs cradled, Cage-free, tender shells protect, Nature's purest gift. III. A Symphony of Flavors Delicately boil’d, Firm whites encase yolks of gold, Silent harmony. IV. The Art of Peeling Slow reveal, a dance, Shell departs from egg's embrace, Naked truth exposed. V. A Moment of Bliss I savor each bite, The humble egg's perfection, Yale's gift to the world.”

Asian-Style Ground Turkey Burger

“I’m Asian and I approve.”

Cheddar Cheese

“Once upon a time in the quaint little town of New Haven, Connecticut, a legend was born. A legend so powerful, it would bring tears of joy to the most stoic of humans and inspire feelings of wonder in the most jaded of souls. This legend was none other than the fabled Yale Cheddar Cheese. Our hero of this tale, Chester, was a mild-mannered librarian by day and an unassuming cheese aficionado by night. Every evening, Chester would sneak into the hallowed halls of the school to pursue his life's passion – sampling the most exquisite cheeses the world had to offer. One fateful night, as Chester tiptoed through the labyrinth of corridors, he stumbled upon a hidden chamber. Its door was adorned with the most resplendent golden cheese wheel. Little did Chester know, he had discovered the very vault where the legendary Yale Cheddar Cheese was kept under lock and key. With trembling fingers, Chester carefully lifted the glistening cheese wheel from its velvet pedestal, revealing a cheddar so perfectly aged, it glowed with the warmth of a thousand suns. As he brought the cheese close to his lips, he could feel a surge of power coursing through his veins. With the first bite of that heavenly cheddar, Chester was transformed. His librarian garb was replaced with a cape, woven from the finest cheese cloth, and a mask to protect his identity. Our humble librarian was now the Cheddar Crusader! As the Cheddar Crusader, Chester had but one mission: to share the joy and wonder of the Yale Cheddar Cheese with the world. Armed with his new superpowers, he embarked on a series of overly dramatic and hilarious escapades, bringing joy to the hearts of all who encountered him. He once saved an entire opera performance when the lead singer lost her voice by serenading the audience with a melodious ballad about the Yale Cheddar Cheese. Another time, he managed to stop a bank robbery by distracting the robbers with an impromptu tap dance routine, while leaving them a taste of the cheese that they would never forget. Yet the Cheddar Crusader was not without his enemies. The evil Dr. Limburger, a villainous cheese connoisseur, sought to hoard the Yale Cheddar Cheese for himself. He concocted a dastardly plan to kidnap Chester and force him to reveal the secret location of the enchanted cheddar. But Dr. Limburger underestimated the Cheddar Crusader's cunning and determination. In a climactic battle, Chester outwitted his nemesis by luring him into a maze of cheese wheels, each more delectable than the last. As Dr. Limburger succumbed to the overwhelming temptation of cheese, the Cheddar Crusader made his escape. With the defeat of Dr. Limburger, the world rejoiced, and the legend of the Yale Cheddar Cheese spread far and wide. Chester, now known as the Cheddar Crusader, dedicated his life to sharing the magical powers of that divine cheddar with all who crossed his path.”

Verts with Shallots and Forest Mushrooms

“Just call them green beans. We’re not in France.”

Handsom Dan's Peanut Butter Pie

“I would give three of my unborn children for a slice of this.”

The Bad

Chef Stu's Matzoh Ball Soup

“I'm calling the Anti-Defamation League.”

“Chef Stu had been perfecting his matzoh ball soup recipe for years. He had learned the art of making light and fluffy matzoh balls from his grandmother, who had passed down her recipe to him. One day, a famous food critic came to Chef Stu's restaurant and ordered the matzoh ball soup. Chef Stu knew that this was his chance to impress the critic and gain recognition for his soup. He carefully prepared the soup, starting with a rich chicken broth that simmered for hours. He added carrots, celery, and onions, and seasoned it with herbs and spices. Then he rolled his matzoh balls, using a secret ingredient that he had discovered during his travels in Europe. The critic took one sip of the soup and his eyes widened with delight. "This is the best matzoh ball soup I've ever had!" he exclaimed. Chef Stu beamed with pride as he watched the critic devour the soup. From that day forward, Chef Stu's matzoh ball soup became famous. People came from far and wide to taste it, and it was featured in food magazines and on television shows. But for Chef Stu, the most rewarding part was seeing the joy on his customers' faces as they ate his soup. He knew that his grandmother would have been proud of him, and he was grateful for the legacy she had passed down to him. Overall, bit sus.”

Shepherd's Pie

“Deep within the heart of Yale's campus, amidst the hustle and bustle of student life, the dining hall staff prepared for the unveiling of their latest culinary creation – the Golden Shepherd's Pie. Whispers of this new dish swirled among the students, who eagerly anticipated the arrival of this seemingly divine concoction. Margo, a culinary journalist enrolled at Yale, had caught wind of the rumors surrounding the Golden Shepherd's Pie. Intrigued by the buzz, she made her way to the dining hall, her senses sharpened in anticipation of a sublime gastronomic experience. But fate had other plans. As Margo took her seat, she couldn't help but notice the air of smugness that seemed to radiate from the dining hall staff. Their heads held high, they paraded around with an air of superiority, as if they held the key to a secret that only the enlightened few could comprehend. With bated breath, Margo placed her order for the Golden Shepherd's Pie. The dish arrived, bathed in a golden aura, seemingly a masterpiece of culinary artistry. Yet as Margo lifted her fork and took her first bite, her face contorted in a mixture of confusion and disbelief. The symphony of flavors she had been promised was nothing but a cacophony of discordant tastes, each note more unbearable than the last. The mashed potatoes, supposedly whipped to perfection, were a lumpy, glue-like mess. The ground plant-based meat, meant to be a succulent blend of herbs and spices, tasted as though it had been marinated in despair. The vegetables, which should have been crisp and vibrant, seemed to have given up on life long before they had been mercilessly tossed into the dish. As the unfortunate reality of the Golden Shepherd's Pie began to sink in, Margo found herself questioning her life choices. How could she have been so easily swayed by the siren song of a dish that had brought her nothing but misery?”

Plain Greek Yogurt

“If you see me putting this in a to go cup it’s because i’m putting it on my tampon to treat my yeast infection don’t ask.”

Roasted Cauliflower with Friend Capers

“Capers were unfriendly. 1 star.”

Italian Wedding Soup

“I’ve been to THREE Italian weddings - never had this soup.”

Hand Pressed Grass-Fed Beef Patty with Melted Cabot Cheddar Cheese on a Toasted Potato Bun with Potato Sweet Fries Oven Baked Wedges with Sea Salt

“My brother in christ it is called a cheeseburger.”

The Ugly

Orzo, Bulger and Lemon with Fresh Herbs

“Bulger? More like vulgar.”

Mother's Beef Brisket

“Someone call PETA. This Cow was killed twice.”

So Delicious Plain Coconut Yogurt

“So Delicious? more like So Bad.”

Greek Salad

“Straight up not greek salad.”

Escarole and White Bean Bake

“Bake should remain a verb.”

Oven Cleaner

“Just like mom used to make!”

Don't take these too seriously – they're all in good fun! Yale dining is great and we're extremely lucky to have such a wide variety of fantastic food options. If you're interested in reading more serious reviews, check out the Yale Hospitality Instagram.